Vol. 9 No. 6 1942 - page 471

French, of picturesque Moorish scenes that made patches of rather
messy color. Still there was something about it I liked, and I was
glad it had remained the same.
And now Ellen was telling me about her girlhood. She had
been terribly homely, she said, and she had always had an awful
time at dances: she always knew that if a boy asked her to dance,
it was only because his mother had made him. "I was a sight," she
said. "I had crooked teeth and my head was too big for my body.
Even Mother was discouraged about me." She was certainly not
bad-looking now and she could never have been so homely as she
imagined; but she was short and did have rather a large square
head on a neck that was a little too small for it-physically, she
resembled the doctor-and I could see that, with her precocious
intelligence, she might not have been a belle at dances. But her
magnificent agate-green eyes must at any age have been arresting:
they seemed to concentrate the light of the intellect as a powerful
lens does the sun, and in this intellectual ·character they suggested
the eyes of a remarkable man; yet they were also extremely femi–
nine and responded to everything that met them as the eyes of men
seldom do. The rest of Ellen's face was neither so striking nor so
mobile: her mouth was small and her nose a little owl-like, and her
face with its square jawbones was too broad for them. But the
effect of her eyes was mesmeric.
She involved you in her concentration, and as she went on
describing her childhood, I was forced to see it all as she did. Her
parents should never have married, she said-though I tried to
point out that it was silly to imply that she should never have
existed. They had never had anything in common. Her father,
before his marriage, had been a man about town and a sportsman
-she showed me a photograph with a handsome mustache, hair
•amiably parted in the middle, and some kind of small chrysanthe–
mum in the buttonhole. He had done a great deal of drinking, and
they had belonged, in the first years of their marriage, to a rich
and rather fast set. He had had no intellectual or artistic tastes,
and for her mother, brought up by Dr. Bristead, this life must have
been deeply uncongenial, even, she thought, disgusting. Ellen's
father, a Wall Street man with a seat on the Stock Exchange, had
been ruined, the year before Ellen was born, by the crash of 1884;
and after that he had always done badly. They had gone to live
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